I am always in search of low-calorie meals with a ton of flavor and satisfaction. This recipe, originally by Pamela Salzman, but tweaked by yours truly, fits the bill perfectly. You can make it vegan by using plant-based ricotta and parmesan cheese. If you are in a rush you can use canned tomatoes, but there is really nothing better than using all fresh ingredients since it adds about 15 -20 minutes to the cooking time. This stores well in the fridge, for up to 5 days. Here is a video of the process.
- 4 medium zucchini, about 2 pounds, trimmed, cut lengthwise into ¼-inch thick slices (you’ll probably get 6-8 slices per zucchini)
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil + extra for brushing zucchini
- ½ teaspoon sea salt + additional for the sauce
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- 1 ½ pounds cherry tomatoes, about 2 pints, halved
- ⅓ cup fresh basil leaves
- 8 ounces of regular or plant-based ricotta cheese
- 8 ounces shredded parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Line a large baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper. Place zucchini slices on the sheet pant.
- Brush each slice with a thin coat of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until zucchini is soft, but not falling apart.
- Prepare the cherry tomato sauce: heat the oil in a large sauté pan (I use cast iron) over medium-low heat. Add the sliced garlic and crushed red pepper and sauté until fragrant. When the garlic just starts to turn golden around the edges, increase the heat to medium and add the tomatoes plus 2 big pinches of salt and pepper to taste. Cook tomatoes, stirring often until they start to lose their shape, about 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and remove from heat. Tear or slice basil leaves and stir into tomato mixture.
- Transfer the sauce to an 8 x 8 baking dish, a 9-inch pie plate or if you used an oven-proof skillet, leave the sauce in there.
- When the zucchini is cool enough to handle, spread about 1 Tablespoon of ricotta cheese evenly along each slice.
- Roll the slices and arrange them each seam side down in the prepared baking dish or oven-proof skillet.
- Top with the shredded mozzarella.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until rolls are heated through and the parmesan cheese is melted.